Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston’s Best Friend Opens Up About Love Affair with Singer

Whitney Houston’s best friend and confidante, Robyn Crawford, is breaking her silence on their relationship.

Seven years after Houston’s tragic death, Crawford is confirming long-running reports of a love affair with the late singer.

Crawford opens up for the first time about their romantic relationship in her new memoir A Song For You: My Life with Whitney Houston. PEOPLE has obtained an excerpt from the book, which hits bookstores Nov. 12.

“I’d come to the point where I felt the need to stand up for our friendship. And I felt an urgency to stand up and share the woman behind the incredible talent,” writes Crawford.

They met as teenagers in 1980 when they were both counselors at an East Orange, New Jersey summer camp. “It was during that first summer that we met, was the first time our lips touched. And it wasn’t anything planned, it just happened,” Crawford tells NBC News. “And it felt wonderful. And then, not long after that, we spent the night together. And that evening was the night that we touched. And that just brought us closer.”

Whitney ended the physical part of their relationship when she signed a record deal with Arista Records. The singer broke the news by giving Crawford a slate blue Bible one day in 1982.

“She said we shouldn’t be physical anymore,” says Crawford, “because it would make our journey even more difficult.”

Whitney’s family, including her mother Cissy Houston, did not approve of the relationship. “Whitney told me her mother said it wasn’t natural for two women to be that close,” adds Crawford, “but we were that close.”

Whitney’s sexuality was the subject of speculation for years. “We never talked about labels, like lesbian or gay,” writes Crawford. “We just lived our lives and I hoped it could go on that way forever.”

Houston died in 2012 at the age of 48. “Whitney knows I loved her and I know she loved me,” says Crawford. “We really meant everything to each other. We vowed to stand by each other.”

Crawford, a family fitness trainer, now lives with her partner, talent agency executive Lisa Hintlemann, with whom she adopted two children.